10 June 2018

soft touch

A mention for some science stories I had a hand in recently.

Managing chronic pain with light has obvious advantages to managing it with drugs, if a workable procedure can be developed; and if we can see why it might work in the first place. EMBL Rome have found a way to induce particular nerve cells that normally sit right at the surface of the skin to withdraw further down when illuminated, which could help people for whom every touch is painful.

Also: Super-resolution microscopy won the Nobel Prize in 2014 and advances are now coming along at a rapid clip. A German project has found a way to makes quantum dots—semiconductor particles so tiny that single electrons are confined inside them—wash over the surface of a sample while being made to fluoresce. Use enough quantum dots, and you can interpolate position down at super-resolution scales.

And: Photoacoustics is a growing field too, and Caltech has used it to show detailed structure of the human breast, a big step towards bringing it into clinics for effective cancer screening.


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valentina on the phone A while ago I called the ten-volume project to bring all of Guido Crepax’ comics output into the English language a cultural intervention, and that
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